An Al Duncan musing

11th March 2012 : Reflections on the 'do-gooder' attitude

You know, there has been that much going on within Horse Racing in the last 3-4 months, yet outside of the attraction of the actual races that the last thing required on the subject is my opinion.

However, the whip fiasco has been an absolute disaster, certainly the most embarrassing initiative introduced by Horse Racing ruling bodies in my lifetime (present incumbents British Horseracing Authority (BHA)). The changes in the use of the whip in all Races under Rules in Great Britain in recent months has been ill thought, poorly communicated, badly implemented and totally mis-managed.

There are many better qualified than me to say what is the effect of striking a horse with a whip in a race. Yet, what is plainly obvious is that racehorses come back time and time again and consent to take part in a race.
I mean, the whip in horse racing is not an implement of torture.

But what I find really astounding in all of this, is the impact, both direct and indirect, of all those animal welfare do-gooders. You know them from all walks of life, and here they manifest as self-appointed governors of all living, non-human species on this planet.

From what I discern, it was last year's Grand National that proved to be the catalyst to this mayhem.
Our BHA felt they had to react to the swell of opinion from, as far as I can understand, two sources : RSPCA and complaints to the BBC from members of the public.

Now, like most Nationals over the last 50 years, I watched the 2011 renewal courtesy of the BBC and never for a second did I think that Macguire was guilty of over-use of the whip on Ballabriggs. Quite the reverse, a masterful ride.
8 million watched the race on BBC TV, and 0.0001% complained to the Broadcasting Regulatory body regarding the mistreatment of horses during the race. Significant adjustments to the National fences ensued, nevertheless.

The RSPCA do an admirable job, setting standards regarding the safety and treatment of animals to prevent mis-handling by unscrupulous individuals. However, on hearing the news of the latest tinkering to the Whip Laws introduced with effect from last week (more or less reverting to status quo prior to the introduction of strict stipulations of last autumn), the RSPCA press office deemed it 'a black day for racing'.
It has been plainly obvious to me that for some time that the view of the RSPCA towards Jump Racing is to seek a total ban on the sport. (I think their view of Greyhound Racing is along similar lines).
There are around 14,000 race horses in training in Great Britain. As far as welfare is concerned, these thoroughbreds live a life of luxury, but without whom there would be no horse racing.

And vice versa.

Just how the RSPCA can have an agenda which would lead to the natural culling of thousands of beautifully bred horses, each exuding equine magnificence, defeats me.

Racing's ruling body need to take a strong stance on this. In addition to the care and improvement to the thoroughbred horse, The Racing Industry provides employment and career paths for thousands of people in Britain. It would be both social and economic madness for any Government to support the introduction of a policy which would threaten livelihoods of that order.
The BHA are on the front foot here, just knock those tame long-hops over the boundary for six.

   © 2012  all rights reserved  |   Web Design : Viewforth Consultants Ltd.